With the first part of training camp in the books and the preseason set to open on Thursday, it seems like a good time to take a look at the roster and assess what we've seen thus far. Obviously there's a lot of football to be played and evaluations to be made, but here's PFW's pre- preseason projection of the Patriots 53-man roster.
Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer
In the mix: Danny Etling
Analysis: Etling doesn't look ready to push Hoyer for the backup job and could land on the practice squad.
Running back (4)
Rex Burkhead, James White, Sony Michel, Jeremy Hill
In the mix: Mike Gillislee, Brandon Bolden
Analysis: Michel's knee injury and Julian Edelman's suspension could force Bill Belichick to keep additional RBs.
Fullback (1) James Develin
In the mix: None
Analysis: Pro Bowler is still a valuable part of the offense.
Wide receiver (5) Julian Edelman*, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kenny Britt, Eric Decker
In the mix: Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios
Analysis: Assuming Decker can get up to speed he should be safe, especially for September when Edelman will be out.
Tight end (3) Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister
In the mix: None
Analysis: Rookie Ryan Izzo is a practice squad candidate.
Offensive line (8) Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Isaiah Wynn, LaAdrian Waddle, Ted Karras
In the mix: Cole Croston, Ulrick John
Analysis: Depth has improved among backup candidates.
Defensive line (9) Trey Flowers, Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton, Adrian Clayborn, Deatrich Wise, Malcom Brown, Derek Rivers, Adam Butler, Vincent Valentine
In the mix: Keionta Davis, Eric Lee, Geneo Grissom
Analysis: Davis could push Valentine for a spot while Grissom always seems to be on the bubble.
Linebackers (5) Dont'a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, Christian Sam, Marquis Flowers
In the mix: Ja'Whaun Bentley, Harvey Langi
Analysis: Special teams focus will factor into these decisions.
Cornerback (6) Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Duke Dawson, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Keion Crossen, Jonathan Jones (PUP), Cyrus Jones (PUP)
In the mix: Ryan Lewis
Analysis: Young corners pushing for roster spots.
Safety (4) Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Damarius Travis
In the mix: Eddie Pleasant, Jordan Richards
Analysis: Pleasant's special teams ability could give him a role.
Kicker (1) Stephen Gostkowski
Analysis: Solid as ever during camp.
Punter (1) Ryan Allen
In the mix: Corey Bojorquez
Analysis: Rookie has a big leg but lacks consistency.
Long snapper (1) Joe Cardona
Analysis: Running unopposed.
Special teams (3) Matthew Slater, Brandon King, Nicholas Grigsby, Nate Ebner (PUP)
Analysis: Bolden will be a factor here as well.
*-Suspended for first four games of regular season